British Comedy Guide conference read out

And we’re back. Long time no post. Normal (ie irregular) service resumed.

For a couple of weeks now I’ve been planning to write up the British Comedy Guide Big Comedy Conference. First I have to say well done to Mark, Aaron and the team on making the whole thing run so smoothly. (And to Dave Cohen for programming it so successfully.)

My personal highlights were:

1. Hearing Andrew Ellard, John Finnemore, and Michael Jacob downloading just a fraction of what they know about constructing sitcom. Like sitcom itself many of the ideas on how to construct sitcom are deceptively simple. The skill is in applying them without producing something mechanistic and dead. So hearing real life examples from experienced practitioners is incredibly useful.

2. Mellie Buse, Howard Read (as in Little Howard) and Paul McKenzie talking about writing for children. A subject I didn’t know anything about. Mellie specialises in the pre-school market (CBeebies) whereas the other two work on shows for slightly older kids (CBBC level). Writing for younger kids demands a good knowledge of child development as well as storytelling. So it is worth trying to write spec scripts specifically for that market if you want to break into it (according to Mellie). For older children Howard and Paul suggested that having a funny adult calling card script is probably the way to go. If you can write funny, you can write funny.

Being a parent I’ve rediscovered a love for children’s TV. Some of it is brilliant (and produced on a shoestring budget). When I, ahem, have some time, I’m going to try writing some.

3. Hanging out with Lewis MacLeod for part of the day. Nuff said.